Welcome to MSF Field Research


MSF is known for its humanitarian medical work, but it has also produced important research based on its field experience. It has published articles in over 100 peer-reviewed journals and they have often changed clinical practice and been used for humanitarian advocacy. These articles are available for free, in full text - no login required. We sincerely thank the publishers for their permission to archive on this site.


Published Research and Commentary
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Research Resources


  • Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence Interruptions Are Associated With Systemic Inflammation Among Ugandans Who Achieved Viral Suppression

    Musinguzi, N; Castillo-Mancilla, J; Morrow, M; Byakwaga, H; Mawhinney, S; Burdo, TH; Boum, Y; Muzoora, C; Bwana, BM; Siedner, MJ; et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2019-12-01)
    Background: Residual systemic inflammation, which is associated with non-AIDS clinical outcomes, may persist despite viral suppression. We assessed the effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence interruptions on systemic inflammation among Ugandans living with HIV who were virally suppressed. Setting: We evaluated adults initiating first-line ART at a regional referral hospital clinic in Mbarara, Uganda. Methods: Plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6), D-dimer, soluble sCD14, sCD163, the kynurenine/tryptophan (K/T) ratio, and CD8+ T-cell activation (HLA-DR+/CD38+ coexpression) were measured at baseline and 6 months after ART initiation among participants who achieved viral suppression (<400 copies/mL) at 6 months. ART adherence was monitored electronically. Time spent in an adherence interruption was computed as the percentage of days when the running average adherence was ≤10%. We fit adjusted linear regressions to evaluate the effect of time spent in an interruption on the log-transformed plasma concentrations of the inflammation biomarkers. Results: Of 282 participants, 70% were women, and the median age was 34 years. At baseline, median CD4 and median log viral load were 135 cells per microliter and 5.1 copies per milliliter, respectively. In the adjusted analysis, a running average adherence of <10% was associated with higher sCD14 (+3%; P < 0.008), sCD163 (+5%; P = 0.002), D-dimer (+10%; P = 0.007), HLA-DR+/CD8+ (+3%; P < 0.025), IL-6 (+14%; P = 0.008), and K:T ratio (+5%; P = 0.002). These findings were largely robust to adjustment for average adherence, as well as higher thresholds of running average adherence, albeit with decreased statistical significance. Conclusions: Increased time spent in adherence interruptions is associated with increased levels of inflammation, despite viral suppression above and beyond average adherence.
  • Adherence and population pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine when used for seasonal malaria chemoprevention in African children

    Ding, J; Coldiron, ME; Assao, B; Guindo, O; Blessborn, D; Winterberg, M; Grais, RF; Koscalova, A; Langendorf, C; Tarning, J (American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2019-10-25)
    Poor adherence to seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) might affect the protective effectiveness of SMC. Here, we evaluated the population pharmacokinetic properties of amodiaquine and its active metabolite, desethylamodiaquine, in children receiving SMC under directly‐observed ideal conditions (n=136), and the adherence of SMC at an implementation phase in children participating in a case‐control study to evaluate SMC effectiveness (n=869). Amodiaquine and desethylamodiaquine concentration‐time profiles were described simultaneously by two‐compartment and three‐compartment disposition models, respectively. The developed methodology to evaluate adherence showed a sensitivity of 65‐71% when the first dose of SMC was directly observed and 71‐73% when no doses were observed in a routine programmatic setting. Adherence simulations and measured desethylamodiaquine concentrations in the case‐control children showed complete adherence (all doses taken) in less than 20% of children. This result suggests that more efforts are needed urgently to improve the adherence to SMC among children in this area.
  • New ways to measure the effects of armed conflict in civilian population

    Kadir, A; Garcia, DM; Romero, F (Elsevier, 2019-10-24)
  • Feasibility of antiretroviral therapy initiation under the treat‐all policy under routine conditions: a prospective cohort study from Eswatini

    Kerschberger, B; Jobanputra, K; Schomaker, M; Kabore, SM; Teck, R; Mabhena, E; Lukhele, N; Rusch, B; Boulle, A; Ciglenecki, I (Wiley Open Access, 2019-10-24)
    Introduction The World Health Organization recommends the Treat‐All policy of immediate antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, but questions persist about its feasibility in resource‐poor settings. We assessed the feasibility of Treat‐All compared with standard of care (SOC) under routine conditions. Methods This prospective cohort study from southern Eswatini followed adults from HIV care enrolment to ART initiation. Between October 2014 and March 2016, Treat‐All was offered in one health zone and SOC according to the CD4 350 and 500 cells/mm3 treatment eligibility thresholds in the neighbouring health zone, each of which comprised one secondary and eight primary care facilities. We used Kaplan–Meier estimates, multivariate flexible parametric survival models and standardized survival curves to compare ART initiation between the two interventions. Results Of the 1726 (57.3%) patients enrolled under Treat‐All and 1287 (42.7%) under SOC, cumulative three‐month ART initiation was higher under Treat‐All (91%) than SOC (74%; p < 0.001) with a median time to ART of 1 (IQR 0 to 14) and 10 (IQR 2 to 117) days respectively. Under Treat‐All, ART initiation was higher in pregnant women (vs. non‐pregnant women: adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) 1.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.70 to 2.26), those with secondary education (vs. no formal education: aHR 1.48, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.95), and patients with an HIV‐positive diagnosis before care enrolment (aHR 1.22, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.36). ART initiation was lower in patients attending secondary care facilities (aHR 0.64, 95% CI 0.58 to 0.72) and for CD4 351 to 500 when compared with CD4 201 to 350 cells/mm3 (aHR 0.84, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.00). ART initiation varied over time for TB cases, with lower hazard during the first two weeks after HIV care enrolment and higher hazards thereafter. Of patients with advanced HIV disease (n = 1085; 36.0%), crude 3‐month ART initiation was similar in both interventions (91% to 92%) although Treat‐All initiated patients more quickly during the first month after HIV care enrolment. Conclusions ART initiation was high under Treat‐All and without evidence of de‐prioritization of patients with advanced HIV disease. Additional studies are needed to understand the long‐term impact of Treat‐All on patient outcomes.
  • Introduction of a standardised protocol, including systematic use of tranexamic acid, for management of severe adult trauma patients in a low-resource setting: the MSF experience from Port-au-Prince, Haiti

    Jachetti, A; Massenat, RB; Edema, N; Woolley, SC; Benedetti, G; Van Den Bergh, R; Trelles, M (BioMed Central, 2019-10-18)
    Background Bleeding is an important cause of death in trauma victims. In 2010, the CRASH-2 study, a multicentre randomized control trial on the effect of tranexamic acid (TXA) administration to trauma patients with suspected significant bleeding, reported a decreased mortality in randomized patients compared to placebo. Currently, no evidence on the use of TXA in humanitarian, low-resource settings is available. We aimed to measure the hospital outcomes of adult patients with severe traumatic bleeding in the Médecins Sans Frontières Tabarre Trauma Centre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, before and after the implementation of a Massive Haemorrhage protocol including systematic early administration of TXA. Methods Patients admitted over comparable periods of four months (December2015- March2016 and December2016 - March2017) before and after the implementation of the Massive Haemorrhage protocol were investigated. Included patients had blunt or penetrating trauma, a South Africa Triage Score ≥ 7, were aged 18–65 years and were admitted within 3 h from the traumatic event. Measured outcomes were hospital mortality and early mortality rates, in-hospital time to discharge and time to discharge from intensive care unit. Results One-hundred and sixteen patients met inclusion criteria. Patients treated after the introduction of the Massive Haemorrhage protocol had about 70% less chance of death during hospitalization compared to the group “before” (adjusted odds ratio 0.3, 95%confidence interval 0.1–0.8). They also had a significantly shorter hospital length of stay (p = 0.02). Conclusions Implementing a Massive Haemorrhage protocol including early administration of TXA was associated with the reduced mortality and hospital stay of severe adult blunt and penetrating trauma patients in a context with poor resources and limited availability of blood products.

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